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Friday, February 4, 2022
February 4, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:19 PM :: 1708 Views

Office of Hawaiian Affairs is now accepting nominations to fill the Hawaiʻi Island Trustee vacancy

Boosting Long-Term Engagement In the Pacific (BLUE Pacific) Act Passes U.S. House

Legislative Session Opens and My oh My!

$600M? Hawaiian homestead bills will be decided in Conference Committee

SA: … Separate committees in the state House and Senate unanimously voted to advance a pair of bills aimed at delivering $600 million this year to the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands so the agency can dramatically reduce an immense backlog of around 28,700 beneficiaries waiting for homesteads.

The (no longer) identical bills, House Bill 2511 and Senate Bill 3359, were passed respectively by the House Committee on Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs and the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs….The Senate bill was amended to remove the dollar amount of funding…

(TRANSLATION: Real bill will come out of conference committee.)

In 2021 Hawaii lawmakers appropriated a record $78 million for DHHL to develop more than 700 homestead lots. The $600 million proposal this year equals a sum the Legislature approved in 1995 as part of a settlement over state obligations to the program, though the $600 million settlement was paid out over 20 years….

(TRANSLATION: We did this before.  No real change occurred.)

Even with a $600 million boost, DHHL would still have a huge unmet need, given that the agency estimates the cost to develop enough lots on its land for all beneficiaries is at least $6 billion, based on a conservative per-lot estimate of over $150,000. At that price 4,000 lots could be developed with $600 million….

read … Hawaiian homestead bills advance at state Legislature

Relatives incensed by ‘watered down’ version of bill drafted in wake of child murder case

HNN: …  “Ariel’s bill” would have required social workers to continue to make home visits even after a foster child is adopted, requiring child welfare official to investigate an additional 3,000 families.

But the House Health Committee Thursday amended the bill so that it now requires the state agency to conduct home visits only if a complaint of abuse or neglect is made.

Julie Harding, Ariel’s grandmother, said she was disappointed the bill was “watered down.”…

In written testimony, the department said that “CWS projects 80 new (full time equivalent employees) will be needed to manage the additional visits the bill proposes.”…

State Rep. Ryan Yamane, chairman of the House Committee on Health, Human Services and Homelessness, said past reports of suspected abuse would have triggered an investigation of the Kaluas if the bill were in place.

“That family would have qualified for having this annual safety check by DHS,” he said….

read … Relatives incensed by ‘watered down’ version of bill drafted in wake of child murder case

Here’s How County Leaders Think Maui Can Get Tourism Under Control

CB: … In a 418-page report, a group outlined a dozen ways to prevent the island from being overrun with visitors…

From capping the number of hotels to requiring tourists to make reservations for popular spots like hiking trails and waterfalls, a group of Maui County leaders tasked with finding new ways to control over-tourism has released its list of ideas.

Cap the number of new hotels, vacation rentals and other visitor lodging

Create a commission to manage tourism and hire a “Chief of Tourism Management”

Push hotels and other visitor lodgings to go green

Measure residents’ quality of life

Reservation system for tourism hotspots

Hire someone to help Maui County work with the Federal Aviation Administration

PDF: Report

SA: Kokua Line: How does Hanauma Bay balance local and visitor entry?

read … Here’s How County Leaders Think Maui Can Get Tourism Under Control

Hawaii Health Officials Review Drinking Water Standards After Red Hill Fuel Crisis

CB: … in 2017, the Hawaii health department increased its “environmental action level” for diesel in drinking water from 160 parts per billion to 400 parts per billion, despite objections from the Honolulu Board of Water Supply….That change meant that several samples taken from the well in September and October, which would have exceeded the pre-2017 limit instead registered as safe.  …

In 2017, DOH also increased its “taste and odor” threshold for TPH-d from 100 parts per billion to 500 parts per billion, another decision Lau disagrees with. In his letter, he said the studies DOH relied on to make that call contain “considerable uncertainty.”

The Navy was alerted to the contamination of its water system last year by military families who said they smelled fuel in their water and were experiencing adverse health impacts, including skin irritation and rashes – not by water testing.

That indicates a problem, according to Lau.

“The Navy has reported taking hundreds of samples from its water distribution system and has generally maintained that none have indicated the presence of petroleum-related constituents at or above the DOH’s current EALs,” he wrote. …

read … Hawaii Health Officials Review Drinking Water Standards After Red Hill Fuel Crisis

Moving ‘away from eradication’: Bills urge DLNR to recognize importance of game animals

HTH: … Game animals in Hawaii should be treated with more consideration, according to a series of bills introduced in the state Legislature.

House Bill 1872 and Senate Bills 2069 and 3299 urge the Department of Land and Natural Resources to recognize the value of game animals and birds as a sustainable resource and integrate local hunting and fishing industries into food security and sustainability programs….

“We just want to influence the mindset about game animals and move it away from eradication,” said Nani Pogline, a member of the Hawaii County Game Management Advisory Commission’s legislative committee, which helped develop the bills.

Hamakua Rep. Mark Nakashima, who introduced HB 1872, said the DLNR’s efforts to control game animals — on the Big Island, that is pigs, sheep and goats in particular — have been “one-sided” over the last few decades, and have treated them as invasive species disruptive to the island’s ecosystem that need to be contained and eradicated.

But this attitude toward game animals is ahistorical, Pogline said, and disregards both the societal and ecological value of maintaining a balanced population of game animals….

read … Moving ‘away from eradication’: Bills urge DLNR to recognize importance of game animals

Middle school principal who got series of disturbing death threats says DOE isn’t taking her safety seriously

HNN: … “I am going to shoot you right inside of your f***ing head. Right inside of your open mouth, OK?” the person says, with a disguised voice as if using an application.

Balatico called her security officer into the office to speak to the man, who claimed his name is David.

Honolulu police, with the help of the FBI, have been investigating the threats since 2020.

But no one has been arrested, and no suspect has been identified.

The state Department of Education provided Balatico and her children ― one in elementary school the other in high school ― with private security as part of a safety plan.

The security officers shadowed them on campus and outside of school, too, for about seven months.

But then last fall, shortly after the school year began, the extra security stopped.

“In September, both my children were dressed and ready to go to school. They had their backpacks on and we got to Waipahu High School only to find that my daughter’s campus security wasn’t there,” Balatico said, adding she wasn’t warned that the security officers were not going to be waiting.

“It’s not fight or flight, it is flight we are going home,” Balatico said.

She has not allowed her kids to return to in-person schooling because she doesn’t feel that it’s safe for them or the other students and staff....

SA: Death threats target principal of Hawaii middle school

read … Middle school principal who got series of disturbing death threats says DOE isn’t taking her safety seriously

Report: More Weed Stores needed to sustain marijuana industry

SA: …  The study says that approximately only a third of patients with “329 cards” statewide use licensed dispensaries and that the state’s medical cannabis program “is failing to meet its main policy objectives, which is leaving patients heavily reliant on the illicit market where cannabis is untested and unregulated.” …

The industry group is proposing legislative changes that would expand geographic access by allowing up to three retail locations per licensee, with the possibility of two more with DOH approval.

Other changes recommended by HICIA would open the way for each licensee to operate up to three production centers, each limited to 5,000 plants, an increase from the current 3,000, with the possibility of an additional 2,500 plants with an OK from DOH.

The industry group also would like approval for wholesale transactions between licensees as “a supply chain safeguard should an individual licensee’s crop fail or other production disruptions occur,” the report says.

HNN: Hawaii’s medical marijuana industry calls for less regulation amid slew of challenges

PDF: Report

read … Rule changes needed to sustain industry, Hawaii cannabis dispensaries say

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